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IBM Focuses On Security In Launch Of SOA Appliances

The three new products stem from IBM's acquisition of DataPower, which sold hardware to improve processing time, security, and integration for applications linked in a service-oriented architecture.

Antone Gonsalves

May 23, 2006

2 Min Read

IBM on Tuesday launched an appliance for service-oriented architectures that's meant to ease the strain of providing corporate-level security.

The IBM WebSphere DataPower XML Security Gateway XS40 was one of three SOA appliances released by the Armonk, N.Y., company. The three new products stem from IBM's acquisition in October of DataPower, which sold hardware providing security, faster processing of transactions and integration among applications linked within a SOA.

Besides the security gateway, IBM also released the WebSphere DataPower Integration Appliance X150 and the WebSphere DataPower Accelerator XA35. Beyond re-branding, neither of the two products contained any major changes from the original DataPower hardware, Ronald Schmelzer, analyst for ZapThink LLC, said. Instead, IBM has focused its efforts since acquiring DataPower on SOA security.

"People are experiencing more pain handling security," Schmelzer said.

The problem in SOA security is that each XML-based data packet moving between applications has to be authenticated to be sure of the original source and checked to make sure the recipient is authorized to get the information. Other security processes include checking the packet for viruses and decrypting the information.

Such a heavy demand within a network places a strain on servers, which also handle other chores. So it makes sense to have a dedicated appliance for security, Schmelzer said.

With the addition of DataPower, IBM is hoping to change customers' perception of the WebSphere brand, which is associated with software.

"We're really redefining the boundaries of middleware," Eugene Kuznetsov, director of product management for IBM SOA appliances, said. "WebSphere doesn't mean just software, but middleware in a hardware form factor."

The DataPower XML Security Gateway validates, encrypts, signs and authenticates XML messages, while also offering firewall functionality. The appliance can also be integrated with IBM's Tivoli security and management software.

SOA adoption has been highest within the financial services industry. IBM's customer reference for the security appliance is RouteOne, a credit application processor that's a joint venture of DaimlerChrysler Financial Services, Ford Motor Credit Co., General Motors Acceptance Corp., and Toyota Financial Services.

RouteOne links 21,500 automotive dealerships in North America to 60 finance sources, IBM said.

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